Norfolk wants to buy one of the last properties it needs for Tidewater Gardens redevelopment. It’ll cost $1.2 million.
Update - 8 p.m. 5/23/23: Norfolk’s City Council put off the vote to purchase a small brick building on less than an acre of land for $1.2 million at its meeting Tuesday night.
The property is in the St. Paul's area where the Tidewater Gardens public housing neighborhood is being demolished as part of a massive redevelopment effort.
City officials say acquiring the property is necessary for the overhaul, but the council voted to continue the approval to a later meeting.
The council voted unanimously to continue the authorization of the deal. It did not set a date for the item's return.
Original - 3:30 p.m. 5/22/23: The white brick structure at 1000 Holt Street is one of the last buildings standing in the area.
A dozen or so long apartment buildings still stand to the south and east of the building, their doors and windows boarded shut.
Dozens more used to stand in the now cleared fields to the north and west of the church building, which was used by nearby St. Mary’s Basilica as offices and for food pantry and soup kitchen operations.
City documents say the church moved those operations to the former Miller's Oil Building on City Hall Avenue. City land records show the Diocese bought the Miller's property at the end of 2021.
The city’s land records say the now-vacant Holt Street property is valued at just over $450,000 dollars.
But Norfolk is planning to spend $1.2 million dollars for it, more than two and a half times its assessed value.
City officials say $1.2 million is a fair market value of the property.
A report prepared by an independent real estate appraiser on behalf of the city in 2021 listed an appraised price of $1.2 million for the 0.7335 acre parcel.
“Assessed values are for tax purposes, whereas appraised values are more reflective of what the market rate is when purchasing a property,” city spokesman Chris Jones said by email Tuesday.
The lot is one of the final pieces of the puzzle to totally redevelop Tidewater Gardens, a former public housing community that Norfolk says will become a new mixed-income neighborhood.
City documents say the property is a necessary part of the redevelopment.
The vision of the redevelopment is to fully bulldoze several blocks between St. Paul’s Boulevard and Tidewater Drive, up to Brambleton Avenue, and turn the long-time public housing neighborhood into something new.
Norfolk’s housing authority owned all of the public housing, which took up almost all of the land in that area, but there were a couple of parcels that are still outside of city control.
That includes the Hunton YMCA, a historically Black YMCA that has served Tidewater Gardens residents and kids from other nearby public housing and low-income neighborhoods for decades.
The YMCA, which still owns their property along Tidewater Drive, has faced pressure from the city to sell.
Norfolk has promised them a new place to operate but those who run Hunton worry the redevelopment will be the end of the YMCA there.